City Ventures unveils first solar-powered SH homes built to charge electric vehicles

<strong>Electric vehicle regional manager for Nissan LEAF Russell Vare and Herb Gardner, president of homebuilding, address the crowd at the City Venture Residences “Plug Into History” ceremony on Nov. 17.</strong>
Stephanie Raygoza
Staff Writer

City Ventures Residences is redefining what it means to be a green home with the unveiling of their Signal Hill Collection homes. In partnership with the Nissan LEAF, the “Plug Into History” ceremony on Nov. 17 introduced the first high-tech, solar-powered neighborhood in the US to feature garages pre-wired to accept electric cars.
The Signal Hill Collection, part of the company’s earth-friendly neighborhoods that encompass over 190 homes built throughout California cities, features new solar and no-gas residences. Herb Gardner, president of homebuilding for City Ventures, and Russell Vare, electric vehicle regional manager for Nissan LEAF, spoke to attendees about the significance of the partnership and provided a demonstration of how to plug a Nissan LEAF into the charging station.
“We made it a company mandate to be innovative,” Gardner said. “We wanted to push the envelope on what it meant to be a homebuilder.”
The townhomes, located at 1850 North Orizaba Ave., were created so that a large portion of the power required to operate each home is generated on-site through built-in solar panels. The LEED (leadership in energy and environmental design) Gold level and energy-star certified residences include hybrid electric water heaters, low-flow faucet and shower heads, high-efficiency dishwashers and low-emission windows to insulate against the cold and heat.The Nissan Americas and City Ventures partnership on the project was announced over the summer, and, as part of the ceremony, LEAF owners from around Southern California were invited to recharge their vehicles at no charge at the Signal Hill and Santa Barbara developments on Nov. 19.
“You have a sustainable transportation system integrated into the home, and that’s where this connection is and why we wanted to recognize City Ventures,” Vare said.
At the unveiling, Gardner said 13 of the 18 homes were already sold and progress was underway for the projects in downtown Long Beach. The additional eco-friendly communities are located in Brea, Santa Barbara and Alhambra.
“For the first time we have the option of saving thousands of dollars a year from money that usually goes to buying gasoline,” Gardner said. “We can save money while saving the environment.”
The Nov. 19 follow-up event featured demonstrations for current LEAF owners, test drives, pre-sale opportunities from Hooman Nissan, cooking demonstrations and samples from the advanced technology kitchens, an explanation of Signal Hill’s solar-powered technology given by suppliers Petersen Dean, and various prize raffles.
City Ventures homes are branded as Green Key residences and start off in the high $200,000 price range. The Green Key home initiative began as part of the company’s mission to design and develop environmentally responsible homes in urban areas at competitive price points.
“You’re able to be green, you’re able to say you’re green and have it actually save you money,” Gardner said. “We’re the first ones to show not only [that it is] not more expensive, but true cost of living is actually going to be less.”

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